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Primary Health Risks Outweigh Long-Term Radiation Concerns

FRIDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Immediate health risks supersede lifetime radiation-induced cancer risk in patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) surveillance for testicular cancer, according to a study published in the March issue of Radiology.

Pari V. Pandharipande, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues developed a model to project outcomes in patients with testicular cancer who were undergoing CT surveillance in the decade after orchiectomy. Life expectancy losses and lifetime mortality risks due to testicular cancer were compared with life expectancy losses and lifetime mortality risks due to radiation-induced cancers from CT to quantify effects of early versus delayed risks.

The researchers found that 33-year-old men with stage I seminoma who were undergoing CT surveillance were projected to incur a slightly higher lifetime mortality risk from testicular cancer (598 per 100,000; 95 percent uncertainty interval [UI], 302 to 894) than from radiation-induced cancers (505 per 100,000; 95 percent UI, 280 to 730). Testicular cancer-attributable life expectancy was more than three times greater than life expectancy loss attributable to radiation-induced cancers (83 days [95 percent UI, 42 to 124] versus 24 days [95 percent UI, 13 to 35]). Similar trends were seen across modeled scenarios.

"Lifetime radiation risk estimates, when used for decision making, may overemphasize radiation-induced cancer risks relative to short-term health risks," the authors write.

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